«I’m not thinking of retiring… whenever, it will be», Rafael Nadal, ranked no. 2 in the world has told people that he thinks his retirement is near. He has had his share of injuries and underperforming competitions on the court.
Despite his age of 36, Nadal’s priorities may have changed since he became a father less than a month ago on October 8. He now has a lot to consider in his personal and professional life about being a tennis player. The season is three quarters over and the Spaniard has had a serious foot injury during the French Open.
It has been a lot to deal with and Nadal has said that «I’m not going to lie to you. During Roland Garros I thought it could be my last tournament… the foot… it was a disaster… Then it was an abdominal injury the which caused him to withdraw during Wimbledon and he was unable to delve into this year’s US.
Open. It was the third round where he defeated Richard Gasquet but in the round of 16, he then lost to Frances Tiafoe in 4 sets. The situation was terrifying for Nadal, as he remembers saying, «I tore my abs at Wimbledon… I really don’t feel like (retiring) nor do I want to think about it,» he emphasizes.
The tour situations have created a push for Nadal to perform when he sometimes would not have wanted to. It was out of obligation that the Spaniard flew to London to play doubles with Roger Federer at the Laver Cup, as it was the last time the Swiss was on the court before retiring.
The doubles match was basically Federer’s idea that Nadal honored. «I think it could be quite a unique situation, if it happened…it would be great,» Federer said with a smile. Well, it happened and the two icons were unable to overpower their opponents, Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe, causing them to bow out in the first round.
After playing the doubles, Nadal withdrew from the Laver Cup and flew back to Spain since awaiting the birth of his son. October 8 was a great day as little Rafa was born to him and his wife Mery in a private clinic in Mallorca, Spain.
Things are different now and whatever activities the Spaniard does should be considered for his wife and baby. The events are finishing little by little and the beginning of the next season will be pure speculation of what can materialize. The Rolex Paris Masters is a huge event where Novak Djokovic is the defending champion and he and Nadal have landed in the same half.
The ability to train properly and feel like you can give almost 100% to be successful on the court is Nadal’s goal. It remains to be seen once he starts competing with him in Paris how well Nadal can do. After the Rolex Masters will come the ATP Finals in Italy.
Will Rafa be able to maintain his strength and competitiveness in this season-ending tournament? ATP boss Andrea Gaudenzi definitely wants Nadal to play in the final and feels that he will. «I know it’s an event he would like to win at all costs because the only major title is missing from his resume,» Gaudenzi said.
The Rolex and the Nitto are the two titles that Rafa is missing. Carlos Moya, his trainer, is hoping that the Spaniard does well in both events. “He hasn’t been able to win it, but he has had good results and has been close…on several occasions”, explains Moya.
Rafael Nadal knows that time is slowly running out for him to play the tournaments and do well in both. It’s one thing to have the enthusiasm to keep playing on tour, but it’s quite another if his enthusiasm can and will produce the success he wants and needs to add two major titles to his rewarding résumé.